Wine Spectator 96 points - This is well-cloaked for now in roasted vanilla and espresso notes, but there’s ample, fleshy fig sauce and mulled blackberry fruit in reserve. The finish sports a long melted licorice snap feel. Dense, but beautifully polished and pure. For the cellar. Best from 2015 through 2030.—J.M.
Rated #23 in Wine Spectator’s 2012 Top 100 (Jan 18 2012)
Wine Advocate 94 points - Proprietor Stephan von Neipperg has made so many terrific wines at this estate since the late 1980s, it’s hard to say that the 2009 is going to turn out to be the finest, but did it show well on the four separate times I tasted it! A final blend of 55% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc, and a whopping 10% Cabernet Sauvignon (somewhat unusual for this area of St.-Emilion), the natural alcohol was 14%. Stephane Derenoncourt is the long-time wine consultant at all of Stephan von Neipperg’s estates. Yields were shockingly low here, 28 hectoliters per hectare, and the wine is a beauty of both elegance and power. Dark ruby/purple, with notes of incense, sweet cedar, black cherry jam, cassis, and blackberry as well as licorice and subtle smoke, this wine has superb texture, a full-bodied mouthfeel, stunning concentration, and not a hard edge to be found. It is one of those remarkable 2009s with amazing power and density, but also tremendous finesse, precision, and freshness, an anomaly in itself. This wine should drink well for 15-20 years, based on the fact that the 1990, a vintage far lower in acidity and not nearly as concentrated, is still at the top of its game. Bravo! (Tasted four times.) (Apr 2010)